Well, after a day of online ranting about asking God’s blessing in order to be a blessing to others, I stand convicted tonight. I had an opportunity to put words into actions, and, in short, I blew it.
A bunch of guys gathered at our church gym to play basketball tonight. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, shooting around and getting loose, an elderly fellow wandered into the gym. He obviously wasn’t there to play ball. He smelled kind of bad and looked like he’d seen better days. He was going around asking for a few bucks. He was clearly down on his luck.
Well, my suspicious American culture bias kicked in, and I assumed he was just panhandling for money for booze. And maybe he was. But that wasn’t really my call to make, was it?
I really didn’t want to turn him away empty-handed, so while he was talking to some of the other guys, I went over where I had hung up my coat to see if I had a couple of $1’s in my wallet. I was willing to give him a few bucks. But when I opened my wallet, all I had was $20’s.
For a moment, I considered just giving him a $20. But just for a moment. That’s where I blew it.
Now, that $20 really wouldn’t have meant that much to me in the big picture. I honestly can’t even say I felt like it was too much for me to let go. I just thought it was too much to give the guy for what I assumed he wanted it for.
When I got home and thought about it, it was like a kick in the gut. I was thinking about an exchange Pastor Steve and I had been having on his blog site about the prayer of Jabez, and his warning that if you ask God to bless you, you’d better be ready for something you might not expect. I had gone on and on about how we have to stop trying to “get ready” and at some point embark on the journey.
But for all my pious pompousness, I blew it.
It wasn’t any of my business what the guy needed money for. He obviously didn’t pose any danger to anyone, so what was the big deal? I had money I could have given him, and I didn’t. Even if it would have been the last $20 in my wallet, I should have given it away. Heck, I could still go to the ATM tomorrow. Better yet, I could have driven him down to the Dutch Pantry, bought him a cup of coffee and something to eat, and maybe even spent a little time in Christian fellowship.
But nope, I reverted to the very nature I’ve been trying to fight against. I retreated into my comfort zone.
I hope and pray if a similar situation ever arises, I’ll respond in a more Christian fashion. I hope and pray that poor fellow found someone more generous than me to help him out tonight. My only solace right now is the knowledge that I am the child of a forgiving and merciful God. Because tonight, I’m praying for forgiveness.